Last week, House GOP Leadership flexed its muscle and stripped 4 conservative members of their committee assignments. After my colleague Matthew Boyle reported that leadership seemed to use a secret vote "score" to make their decision, anxiety grew that leadership purged these members in a bid to keep conservatives in line. Some members have confirmed to Breitbart News that those concerns are justified and leadership is trying to send a signal to conservatives ahead of any possible fiscal cliff deal. We have also learned that the leadership purge seems to be extending to subcommittees, as well.
A few weeks ago, GOP Leadership announced the incoming committee chairs for the 113th Congress. What hasn't yet been announced, however, is who will fill the more than two dozen to chair subcommittees. Subcommittees are a critical part of the legislative process, providing an initial blueprint of almost all legislation. They also play an important role in providing a measure of oversight over the executive branch.
Ordinarily, committee chairs have the authority to appoint members to fill subcommittee chair vacancies. So far, however, only one committee, Energy and Commerce, has filled its vacancies. All of the vacancies ought to have been filled by now. A number of conservatives are in line to chair many of these subcommittees, which would give them a good opportunity to put a conservative stamp on legislation.
Congressional sources have told Breitbart News they believe the delay is intended to use the vacancies as leverage to force conservatives to vote for whatever fiscal cliff deal House Leadership cuts with the White House.